NZ qualified fifth at day one of the Motocross of Nations in Ernee, in France, today.
Bay of Plenty’s Ben Townley holeshot and led for five of the 12 laps of the MXGP qualifying race before being pipped by French MX1 world No.2 Gautier Paulin, with Townley eventually settling for second in the race.
The engine of Kiwi MX2 rider Kayne Lamont expired early in his MX2 qualifier and he DNFed. A simple engine swap will enable him to be on the start-line tomorrow.
Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper battled to eighth in his open class qualifier and team NZ obviously discarded Lamont’s result.
It will be a big finals day for the Kiwi boys tomorrow.
Spurred on by a vocal home crowd, French riders Paulin (MX1), Marvin Musquin (MX2) and just-crowned MX1 world champion Romain Febvre (open class) had the perfect day, each of them winning their respective qualifying races and they comfortably topped qualifying with a 1-1-1 score-line, credited with two points after they discarded one of the wins.
Team USA finished second overall with four points (Jeremy Martin finished runner-up in the MX2 race; Cooper Webb finished runner-up in the open class race and Justin Barcia finished third in the MXGP race).
Third best was Team Belgium, with Team Germany and the Team New Zealand rounding out the top five. Sixth best was the Dutch team, just two points worse off than the Kiwis.
Check back with BikesportNZ.com as we bring you news and photos tomorrow.
The Team New Zealand Motocross of Nations campaign is supported by WIL Sport Management, Workshop Graphics and the Taupo Motorcycle Club.
© Words and photos by Andy and Bridget McGechan www.BikesportNZ.com
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